By Scott Thompson
THIS COUPLE sold everything they own to live a DEBT FREE life on a BUS with their ONE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER.
Creative video company owner, Will Watson (31) and his wife marketing manager, Kristin (29) from Jacksonville, Florida, USA, were both keen adventurers from a young age. The Watson’s met at work in 2013 and got married in 2018.
They were already travelling a lot with work and decided they wanted a change in life. Their ambition was to travel full time on a bus debt free.
So, they started looking at old busses that they could renovate and that dream became a reality when they purchased an ex-military bus in Layton Utah that they named Juan which they saw online for £6,257 ($8,000).
Will sold an old truck to pay for the bus and they also paid off £18,627 ($24,000) worth of debt before moving onboard. This was a crucial part of the process for them so they could live free from the shackles of borrowed money.
The bus renovation was going brilliantly until Kristin found out she was pregnant in January 2018. Will’s father stepped in and took over Kristin’s part of the renovations of the vehicle.
Their daughter Roam was born on September 2018 and the family moved onto the bus full time in April 2019 when she was just six months old.
“We have always enjoyed travel. Kristin spent her college years backpacking around different countries, and I was in the boy scouts. We both also travelled a lot for work,” Will said.
“We actually both met at work in 2013 and then in 2018 we got married. But we really wanted to travel together so we started looking at vehicles we could renovate and move into full-time.
“We looked at a handful of different busses, but all had issues and weren’t very well kept. In the end we found an ex-military bus online located in Layton Utah which is about 2,000 miles away from Florida. We bought for £6,257 ($8,000) and we called our bus Juan.
“I sold an old truck for it and we also paid down about £18,627 ($24,000) worth of debt before moving onboard. We wanted to have the freedom to live this kind of lifestyle. We could have done it with debt but wouldn’t have felt ‘free’ and didn’t want to be dictated what we could do or where we go.
“Being debt free feels amazing. When we check our bank balance now, we feel a sense of peace and security. We have even been able to save money since moving into our tiny home and we are in the best place we have ever been in our entire lives.
“In January 2018 we were about five months into our renovations and we unexpectedly found out that Kristin was pregnant.
“It was a little bit of a curve ball. Neither of us had planned on having any children, but we knew this was a miracle baby and was meant to be. After the initial shock set in, we were very excited to welcome our little one into the world.
“We had already met so many other families living on busses and vans with multiple kids and we thought ‘if they can do it, so can we’.
“Not continuing with our journey was never in our minds. I was fortunate to get a lot of help from my dad so Kristin could rest during renovations.
“Then in September 2018 we welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world and moved onboard in April 2019.”
The family of four, including their pet dog, Rush, have since travelled over 16,000 miles from Florida Keys up the East Coast to Nova Scotia, Canada.
The biggest struggle has been having to stop every few hours while on the road so that their daughter can crawl around and be given something to eat.
Family and friends have been very supportive of their adventures and they enjoy seeing their journey documented through social media.
As winter draws closer and the days shorten and become colder the family have started heading south towards Florida again to ride it out.
“We have zig zagged from the Florida Keys all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. We have travelled over 16,000 miles and seen so many incredible places,” Kristin said.
“On longer travel days we have to stop every few hours so Roam can crawl around and eat. At night when we put her down to sleep, we have to be very quiet, so we don’t wake her. Other than those two things we don’t have too many difficulties.
“Roam has grown so much since she moved on board at six months old. Back then she was hardly able to move, and now she is climbing all over the bus exploring.
“Our family has been super supportive of our adventures and they especially love that we document them all on YouTube so that they can watch Roam grow up.
“Winter is approaching so we are heading south. On our travels back, we are actually getting to experience fall which we don’t get in Florida so that’s been awesome. We don’t really like the cold so that’s why we are heading to Florida to escape it.
“Roam has been the perfect baby for this trip. We haven’t been getting in each other’s way even though we live in close proximity to one another.”
The Watson family pass on their advice about travelling with a small child.
“I know it can seem scary to take your baby places that aren’t technically baby friendly. I know it’s a hard choice to live a life with a baby that doesn’t fit the ‘norm’, but something we have realised in the last year is that babies are incredibly adaptable and they want to experience the same things as you,” Kristin said.
“No, she might not always like her car seat, and she definitely doesn’t like her life jacket, but she loves hanging out with us and seeing new things. Yes, the meltdowns do come, but they’re never as bad as you might imagine.
“On a final note, remember that someone else’s reality does not have to be your own. If you really want something you can have it. You just have to work for it and believe it’s possible. We are living proof of that. Now go get it.”